Archive for February, 2008

Fate/stay Night round-up

Friday, February 29th, 2008

It’s needless to say, but the text below may spoil.

Hop Step Jump is evaluative:

The show definitely gets things right in the production department. The animation is extremely detailed, and the character designs are easy on the eyes. On the other hand, the action sequences (which are no small part of the show) aren’t particularly flashy. […]

Kenji Kawai’s score is really something, though, and perhaps my favorite element of the show thus far. I especially enjoy his take on the OP, which gets the old school fan within me crying tears of joy. And, thankfully, the voice acting thus far is superb. […]

As for the story? Well, it’s Type-Moon. In other words, it’s ten times more complicated than it needs to be. And, unfortunately, the pacing is clunky to match. It’s nowhere near as dull as Tsukihime, that’s for sure, but it’s still a chore to watch in spots. I’m not expecting wall-to-wall action, mind you (that would probably be worse, actually), but when the story is so dense that the first few episodes are half exposition, you’ve got a problem. […]

Still, it’s all good. Rin is hot, after all.

I saw the pacing complaints all over blogs, but for some reason it was a smooth sailing for me. I only thought the setup artificial, as often happens when creators aim for a kind of long-term struggle with elimination.


First, the real star of the show so far, Rin, is an absolute triumph in character design, much as Arcueid was in Tsukihime.

You know, I should probably be more disappointed with the pacing in Fate/Stay Night, but I just don’t care. The lead characters could just sit around all day talking and I would probably be satisfied, just so long as Saber got to ask for another bowl of rice every once in a while in between bitching Emiya out.

Overall, not a bad series, but not especially good. It didn’t keep my attention, anyway. It needed more Rin/Stay Night, to tell you the truth.

I don’t know how one can say “Foo didn’t keep my attention” while actually finishing the series, but he’s right. I was sad to see Rin fading by the end. Her character struggled valiantly against the power inflation and the grand finale looming, but it was no use.

Kurogane has some choice words, I have to quote:

The past few episodes built up nicely to allow Fate/Stay Night to have it’s glorious ending (not really all to glorious actually, but meh) and the ending is a very nice closure to the anime, even with it’s flaws. But I am still troubled over the Bedivere character (voiced by Noto Mamiko!), who seems to look like the spoofs in 4chan. That is some ugly character design. Thank god it only appeared in the last 5 mins.

Oh come on. The ending was totally glorious, with appropriate sacriface to vanquish the evil. I’d make a comparison to Nia, only I haven’t seen Gurren-Lagann, so I don’t know if that’s appropriate.

Sea Slugs deliver the laugh:

I was reading through some of my older FSN posts as well as the spoilerific Wikipedia entry for Emiya Shirou, and I became intrigued about Shirou’s eventual mastery of his Tracing ability. So I thought I’d consult the readers: Shouldn’t Future-GAR-Shirou be able to Trace out multiple copies of Rin and Saber?

I mean, he’s seen them both, amirite? I am the bone of my sword, baby.

Personally I suspect that Trace does not work on living things by its nature. It is imprecise, so at best you can obtain a Rin with birth defects, if she lives at all. But a funny thought.

Are the stories connected?

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Omo makes a remark in RIUVA’s comments:

2. Reading various bloggers’ reactions and comments on ef tells me one thing (and many others, but): people tend to either “get” the Chihiro story or the Miyako story. Very few people get both and how they really relate to each other. Fewer still get how they relate to each other before seeing the last episode. You are pretty much just in the Chihiro camp. I think this is the biggest failure of ef anime (especially given its role in the franchise), so it’s not really a fault of the people who don’t get it…. but to me it seems as plain as day.

He does not bother to explain to us plebes how the stories were connected or intended to be connected. Fortunately Kuro gives it a shot at #animeblogger:

<kur0gan3> not material enough?
<zaitcev> “Very few people get both and how they really relate to each other.”
<kur0gan3> he already said that the stories explore the opposing sides of the same theme.
<zaitcev> However, the main point of my critique was that the stories were insufficiently connected, and Omo is taking aim very squarely at it. [Omo does allow, however, that not having “it” explicit was “the biggest failure” — Author]
<kur0gan3> oh
<kur0gan3> insufficiently connected?
<kur0gan3> well
<kur0gan3> maybe not physically, but thematically, they are.

<kur0gan3> Hiro’s main theme is mainly “dreams”
<kur0gan3> he dreams of being a real manga-ka, but he’s held back by his relationship with Kei
<kur0gan3> more like, Kei’s nagging.
<zaitcev> ok.
<kur0gan3> what finally frees him is when he realizes his feelings for Miyako
<zaitcev> I think I never saw Chihiro dreaming. Maybe she cannot, because I heard REM sleep is what actually re-packs memories into long-term areas.

<zaitcev> So, ok. Dreams are the theme. How do they oppose Chihiro? And her theme is the direct memory and recall, probably.
<kur0gan3> well
<kur0gan3> i can put it in this way
<kur0gan3> both stories have “dreams” and “memories” as their themes, in Chihiro’s story, “memories” are the main, “dreams” are the supporting, vice versa in Miyako’s story.

Sounds pretty convincing. But then Omo himsef drops this hint:

Like how the two storylines explore opposite sides of the same theme, for example. // It’s no coincidence that Renji was doing a career survey.

We orz in front of your cranium, are you happy now? Happy enough to explain your reasoning?

Hikari is not guilty

Friday, February 29th, 2008

A thought occured to me that Hikari’s experiments could not possibly be the cause for Rakka’s hair problem. The last haibane to be born before Rakka was Kuu. It was no less than one year ago, possibly more (see Kuu’s flashbacks). If Hikari used the carrier at the time, the donuts would’ve been known. So, she used it during the christening of Rakka. But, since halo occupied the carrier, she could only do it after halo was delivered. Therefore, the contamination could not be the reason for whatever hair issues. I hope nobody suggests that Hikari held a hot halo aloft while playing with the carrier.

FRIDGE: Kuu was not necesserily the last one, actually. It could’ve been one of the kids. Still, Reki’s surprise shows that a cocoon has not appeared for a while; enough for donuts to become known.

Steven helps me out:

You’re making a fundamental mistake. You’re assuming that when Hikari received the mold from the Renmei, that the halo was already in it.

She was given the mold plus a package of ingredients. She baked the halo the morning it was given to Rakka, likely just before they all entered and greeted Rakka.

When the Renmei gave Hikari the mold, it was empty. She used it to make doughnuts before she used it to make the halo — which is why the halo wasn’t quite normal.

Thanks. And for some reason picturing all this makes me laugh again.

Damien, it was nice knowing you

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Another blogger announces burnout, but this time with a novel twist:

I’m not sure what I should be doing to solve this conundrum. I could bring my fanfictional ramblings into this blog: after all, it’s an anime fanfic. I also seem to remember a few conversations over on #AnimeBlogger which were unexpectedly encouraging about the discussion of fanfiction on anime blogs, possibly for variety. However, fanfiction also appears to be something of an Acceptable Target for jibes and barbs serious enough to leave wounds.

This does not bode well (see: Novak, Aaron and his last post).

As a fellow fanfic author, I do not have anything against the pursuit per se, but as for dragging it into a blog, I say no. The “jibes and barbs” is just the price of sharing the Net with assholes, so it’s not an argument against anything. Still, it’s a bad idea for the health of the blog. Fanfic is strictly fragmented by fandom and other identities, so it’s a poor match for a blog (unless you’re a writing superstar… but at that time you probably go pro; before that, is a far better way to connect writers and readers). The result is going to be the same quick fading of the blog as simply starving it from anime content.

Burnout is burnout, man. You just have to face it.

Fate/stay Night ends

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I’m going to break my rule not to blog before the shock from the series wears off, and report on Fate/stay Night as finished just now.

The love story was great. I waited for a misstep, and it never happened. Lots of cheesy plot moves, but I don’t care. The core was good.

Liked: Yes.
Rewatch: Probably not.

Below, I’m going to spoil.

I’m not getting it… Bedivere is a woman too? Also, what has happened to the sheath?

Comedy was simple, but well done, and helped to carry the show quite a bit. The screenshot above is of Saber cooking. For some reason, it reminded me of Mahoro using her combat skills in the kitchen, despite opposite results.

I’m displeased a little that Rin faded by the end, but I suppose that’s just the way it is.

Avatar told me that Rin guessed wrong: Archer wasn’t a knight under Saber alias Arthur. Rin, however, observed correctly that Archer knew Saber. It’s not explained in the anime, but according to a game he is actually… Emiya. Apparently, a Servant can be summoned from the future as well as from the past. Watching how the boy has grown by the end of the series, I can believe it.

Most blogged at Ani-nouto

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Today, the top 10 categories are:

ef 26
Lucky star 23
Manabi 18
Rocket Girls 17
Shingu 16
Figure17 13
Gurren-Lagann 11
Rahxephon 10
Azumanga 9
Naruto 9

I have already started to throttle ef by combining entries and dropping anythig inessential. But it was too little, too late. I don’t see any series breaking ef’s supremacy any time soon, regretfuly.

Otherwise, it’s a pretty decent group. Might as well make it into a recommended list.

P.S. I did not mean to imply that ef was bad. What I regret is that I do not see anything so captivating and blogworthy on the horizon.

UPDATE: Aziz writes:

okay, I am torrenting ef. The repeated mention of it was like endless drops of water carving down the mountain into sand.

This is exactly what I was afraid of. At least have not promised to drop me off his feedlist in disgust… yet.

I’ve retagged this post into ef category.

Sola vs. ef: Faces

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Owen noticed a few minutes ago at IRC that sola and ef share the character designer.

Indeed, the resemblance is there, especially en-face, like Chihiro above. The main difference (and again, I only saw one episode and Astro says that the art improves) is that of implementation. Closeups were good; the hideous screenshot was of a knee-ups.

So, I don’t see any contradiction. Both designs were competent, but ef’s is a shade softer, and then SHAFT simply has done a good job.

Sola’s licensed (maybe)

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Apparently, Sola is picked by Bandai Visual, as reported by Beta Waffle. I hated sola’s art in the first episode, although Astro wrote: “the animation quality has actually improved with every episode, and there are times where it is absolutely stunning”. Why didn’t they start with good stuff? A rhetorical question. Anyway, between this and Bandai Visual being the crazy half of the Bandai house, I cannot see myself bothering, but stouter souls might want to take notice.

Fate/stay Night midway

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

I continue to find myself inexplicably enjoying Fate/stay Night, although it would be difficult to explain why. The anime itself is nothing special. It’s drawn well, the girls are spectacular, but Emiya’s eyes bludgeon every frame where they appear. Plot, artificial. Characters… Rin is engaging, Ilya is unpleasant, so it all balances out. I can go on, but the overall picture is that of a better than average anime, not a masterpiece.

Maybe my standards are slipping? I remember dropping Scrapped Princess for the raging mediocrity. Comfortably for my self-esteem, FSN is way and way ahead. There was not a single instance of animation in FSN as bad as Pacifica dipping in the monster lake. No, I still have some standards left.

On the other hand, while I cannot watch enough of FSN, Dennou Coil is rotting in the Suspended folder. And why? I suspect it’s the same kind effect Omo discussed in the context of SHAFT’s fare, only outside of SHAFT.

It bugs the hell out of me simply because I see what’s so good about those two shows [Dennou Coil and Seirei no Moribito — Author], yet neither manages to make me care about them very much; yet I can’t stop talking about crappy shows like these SHAFT offerings.

Someone needs to examine this phenomena. The health of the industry is at stake, considering the Dennou Coil’s budget. (On second thought, FSN is not a low-budget production itself, so it’s a poor specimen.)

P.S. I did not understand what the Caster’s wish was. I guess that she wanted to protect someone (e.g. her motivations turned in the process, same as Emiya’s). Mostly I think so because such construct would be appropriately tragic, as she departed without recognizing her failure. But I really do not know.

Wonderduck redecorates

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Wonderduck has a cell (sorta) from ep.20 of Azumanga Daioh framed and on the wall.

Well, I lose again.